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Riverside County First District voters begin task of hiring new county supervisor

Riverside County First District voters will begin the task of replacing Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, who is retiring at the end of this year. Photo by Canyon Lake Insider.

By Kevin Jeffries
Riverside County Supervisor Board of Supervisors, First District

As I mentioned last month, I am retiring from the board of supervisors at the end of this year, so the voters of the First District are now being asked to begin the hiring process to replace me.

This new hire will be required to oversee the government operations of a county with almost 2.5 million people, spread across 7300 square miles of territory, from Corona to the Arizona State Line, making it the fourth largest county by population in the State and the tenth largest in the nation—larger than 15 other entire states. We employ about 22,000 workers in 35 departments and agencies that range from janitors to counselors to engineers to accountants to deputies to attorneys to heavy equipment operators to literal brain surgeons, and many more additional trades and professions.

Paying all those employees (as well as passing through much of the property tax money to schools) requires a very large budget—$8.6 billion this fiscal year. Most of how that money is spent is dictated by state and federal mandates, but we are held responsible to get it done. 

The good news is, that unlike the State of California, which is now facing a $73 billion deficit, we are still experiencing strong revenues (our general fund budget comes mostly from property taxes and sales taxes, rather than the more volatile income taxes the state relies upon).

The challenging news is labor and health care costs are increasing quickly, and are only going to rise higher, and the other bad news is historically, when the state has had a budget deficit it tends to take it out on counties by cutting funding to programs the county administers and pushing more responsibilities down to local government, as they have done previously by shifting dangerous inmates from state prisons to local jails and by closing state juvenile facilities and expecting counties to find new programs to replace them.

For the cities in the new First District (all of Riverside, all of Perris, and about half of Jurupa Valley), this position is responsible for health and human services programs (including behavioral health, child protective services, food stamps/SNAP), funding criminal prosecutions through the elected district attorney, funding jails operated by the elected sheriff, and overseeing elections county-wide.

For unincorporated communities of the First District (Highgrove, University City, Mead Valley, Good Hope, Meadowbrook, and areas surrounding March Air Reserve Base), we are also responsible for roads, planning and development, fire, deputies, code enforcement, animal services, and anything else that would otherwise be handled by a city.

The first round of candidate selections for my job will be completed on March 5, when the voters of the First District will choose their preferred candidates on the same day as the state-wide primary election. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the votes, the second and final round of interviews will conclude on November 5. Either way, the new hire will start January 1, 2025. Choose wisely, as a lot is at stake!

Visit Voteinfo.net or call 800-345-VOTE (8683) for more information about the March 5 election.

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